The bucket-list journey: Interislander

Get on board one of the world’s most captivating ferry crossings

InterIslander Kaitaki Aerial Marlborough Sounds1


Wellington waterfront


1 Aotea Quay

Without doubt one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world, the Interislander takes you between New Zealand’s North and South Islands in style. This three-ish hour cruise isn’t just a mode of transport - it should be on your Wellington bucket list in its own right.

For over 50 years, Interislander has been ferrying passengers and vehicles between Wellington, which is the bottom of the North Island, to the port town of Picton at the top of the South.

Interislander Family Timmy and Fritha RH7846
Interislander Aratere Man taking photo of Hills of East Head as ship leaves Tory Channel RH15001
Interislander sailing through the Marlborough Sounds
Interislander Couple indulge

The views onboard are awe-inspiring - you’re likely to be glued to the vistas as the ferry crosses the Cook Strait then ducks into the Marlborough Sounds.

The picturesque sounds are a sprawling paradise of islands and peninsulas, with steep bush-clad hills and calm bays. The ferry slows down as you enter the sounds, giving you plenty of time to try and spot local wildlife like orcas, dolphins and fur seals. The Marlborough Sounds are a slice of New Zealand’s natural beauty, and the best way to see them is by sailing through.

The ships’ huge outdoor decks are ideal for keeping an eye on the scenery, but you can watch from the indoors, too. If you want a glass of famed local sauvignon blanc in hand while you stare gobsmacked at the views, go ahead - the onboard cafe offers some Kiwi classics as well as modern fare, and New Zealand wine and beer to go with it.

If you’d rather cosy up and get a bit of culture, the Interislander has got you covered. All sailings have movie theatres onboard, a licensed café or bar where live bands sometimes play and there are play areas for the kids as well. Booking an Interislander Plus lounge upgrade gives you all the comfort of home, and some sailings also have cabins if you’re in need of some shuteye before a long drive.

The Interislander is one of the most captivating ferry crossings in the world, flirting with rocky shorelines and negotiating narrow headlands.

Simon Garner, Mail Online

Wellington city is set around a harbour and encircled by hills, which makes travelling on the Interislander the perfect way to say hi or bye to this little capital. Watching from the water as the city comes into view or grows smaller is a treat in any weather, whether it’s during the city’s characteristic winds or on a sunny stunner of a day.

Interislander coming into port at Wellington

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